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Don Taylor (American actor and director)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don Taylor
Don Taylor (Father's Little Dividend).JPG
Don Taylor in Father's Little Dividend (1951)
Born
Donald Ritchie Taylor

(1920-12-13)December 13, 1920
DiedDecember 29, 1998(1998-12-29) (aged 78)
OccupationActor and film director
Years active1943–88
Spouse(s)
Phyllis Avery
(m. 1944; div. 1955)

Hazel Court (m. 1964)
Children4

Donald Richie Taylor (December 13, 1920 – December 29, 1998) was an American actor and film director.[1] He co-starred in 1940s and 1950s classics, including the 1948 film noir The Naked City, Battleground, Father of the Bride, Father's Little Dividend and Stalag 17. He later turned to directing films such as Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Tom Sawyer (1973), and Damien: Omen II (1978).

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Transcription

In the fickle world of Hollywood, it's hard for a star to rise to fame — and exceptionally easy for them to fall out of the public's good graces. A couple of box office flops, some personal issues, or even a decision to take time off could spell career disaster. For these actors, their towering celebrity status just isn't what it used to be. Here's why. Dane Cook Back in the early aughts, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing how Dane Cook was the funniest dude alive. But those days are long gone now, and he has a few bad films and joke choices to blame for his rapid loss of luster. For starters, his first major outing on the big screen was a serious flop, with 2006's Employee of the Month being funny for all the wrong reasons. His next attempt at being the leading man in Good Luck Chuck was also widely maligned. "Uh oh uh oh uh oh uh oh, raise the habitat! Haha!” And despite dropping his loud funny guy schtick for a more dramatic role in Mr. Brooks, his attempt at reinvention didn't impress enough to keep his silver screen career afloat. He might've been able to sell tickets for his stand up routines, but audiences just weren't interested in his acting. Meanwhile, his comedic reputation also took a major hit when he was the subject of multiple joke theft accusations, and — even worse — made an untimely joke about a mass shooting. "That's really great. Good for you, man." He's recently had some progress turning things around with a voice role in Disney’s Planes movies and a brief stint on American Gods, so don't count him out just yet. "If it's gonna swing far and high this way, then you kinda know that it’s gonna, you know, it’s gonna swing back the other, it's gonna settle.” Jim Carrey Back in his heydey, Jim Carrey was the undisputed king of the box office. Films like The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Liar Liar regularly made bank and solidified his status as a star. He even had some success on the dramatic scene, with films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Number 23 making an impression with audiences. After a while, however, his on-screen wit alone wasn't enough, and Carrey started disappearing into roles that went heavy on the special effects, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who. Eventually his star power started to fade, and films like Mr. Popper's Penguins and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone proved he wasn't as secure a box office draw as everyone expected him to be. "This concludes our broadcast day." His decline in demand also seemed to coincide with some personal issues Carrey was experiencing, including the suicide of his ex-girlfriend Cathriona White, which spawned an ugly legal battle. Nowadays, he's taken up painting, and it seems he's quite good at it. As he says in his new documentary, I Needed Color: "You know, the bottom line with all of this, whether it's performance, or it’s art, or it’s sculpture, is love." Matthew Fox Since Lost, uh, got lost in 2010, Matthew Fox's Hollywood career has taken a nosedive, for reasons both professional and personal. On the professional side, his movie career never quite took off. His cinematic outing as the villain in Alex Cross failed to establish him as a big screen staple, and his promising role in World War Z was basically scrapped and left to collect dust in the editing room. On the personal side, Fox has also been battling nasty headlines in recent years, including allegations that he hit a female bus driver. "You know it's been a very tough year for myself and my family. It's difficult to be accused of something that you did not do." And he was also busted for a DUI that he fully admitted to. If that wasn't enough, Fox also hinted to Men's Fitness in 2012 that he may be ready to give up acting anyway, saying, "If I don't get quality opportunities, you probably won't see much of me. I'll probably be doing something else." Considering he hasn't been seen on-screen for several years, well, it looks like he's making good on that promise. Jessica Alba At one point, Jessica Alba was a budding "it" girl in Hollywood, with her own TV show and franchise roles to boot. But that all fell apart once people started to wonder whether she was actually even a good actress. Thanks to films like The Killer Inside Me and Little Fockers, Alba won a Razzie for "Worst Supporting Actress" in 2011, right around when the offers started drying up. She ultimately began distancing herself from the cameras once she became a mother and began a business empire with The Honest Company instead. That company has honestly grown into a billion-dollar industry, and Alba hasn't had to do much screen work to support her growing family as a result. She's made a couple of on-screen appearances in recent years, like a cameo in Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" video and as herself in the film follow-up to Entourage. But we probably won't be seeing "Jessica Alba" scrawled across the marquee again any time soon. "The only thing you got right was my name." Sarah Michelle Gellar Although she's probably best-known for her starring role in TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar also earned scream queen status thanks her work in films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2. After her vampire-slaying days were finished, Gellar went on to reclaim her horror movie moment with a starring role in The Grudge series. But by then she'd endured a few flops like Simply Irresistible and the critically maligned live-action adaptation of Scooby-Doo. So, soon enough, she found herself starring in genre schlock like The Return and Possession. Around the same time, her small screen career started going south as well, with back-to-back cancellations of her shows Ringer and The Crazy Ones. Even the attempted small screen revival of Cruel Intentions didn't pan out. "You don't stand a chance. Even this is out of your league." But it hasn't been all bad news for Gellar. She's found some success doing voice-over work for TV's Star Wars: Rebels series and launched a "cooking and lifestyle brand" called Foodstirs. She's also the proud mother of two kids, whom she had with actor and fellow '90s sensation Freddie Prinze Jr. Billy Zane Playing the villain in what was then the biggest movie of all-time proved to be difficult for Billy Zane, who spent years trying to convince audiences that he isn't always the snooty British guy who tormented Kate Winslet in Titanic. Unfortunately, Zane hasn't had all that much luck accomplishing that goal. Instead, he starred in a whole string of movies you've probably never heard of. Even his TV stints haven't stayed on the air long enough to keep his career afloat. For example, Freeform canceled Guilt after just one season, and he starred in just a single episode of Community. However, Zane hasn't had any trouble keeping the lights on over the years. Despite his lower profile, the actor has still been working steadily in smaller roles over the years since his Cal Hockley days. Tom Welling After starring as a high school Superman in TV's Smallville for 10 years, Tom Welling earned himself a break from Hollywood. The actor retreated from the screen scene for a few years, occasionally popping up in movies along the way like Parkland, Draft Day, and The Choice. In recent years, however, Welling seems poised for a comeback on the small screen. Although CBS declined to pick up a pilot starring Welling as a CIA black ops agent, he is expected to join the third season of Fox's Lucifer. Chances are good the gig won't last as long as his last television turn, but it may help put his name back into the mainstream again sooner than later. Christopher Mintz-Plasse It's been a full decade since Superbad was released, but for many, Christopher Mintz-Plasse is still best known as the nerdy McLovin. The good news is that notoriety helped him score roles in pics like Role Models, Kick-Ass, and Pitch Perfect. The bad news is that he was totally typecast and his appearances felt like a rehash of his fame-making role. "Wait'll they get a load of me." In recent years, Mintz-Plasse has branched out to other genres, including voice-over work, music, and television, with some of those endeavors proving to be more successful than others. He celebrated his 28th birthday in 2017, so Mintz-Plasse is also growing out of his nerdy youth and into a legitimately dapper dude, which could finally help him shed his Superbad image once and for all. ​Katherine Heigl The dramatic downfall of Katherine Heigl can be boiled down to two words: burned bridges. In 2008, she infamously slammed Knocked Up, the Judd Apatow comedy that launched her film career. She told Vanity Fair the film was "a little sexist," and "paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight," adding, "I had a hard time with it, on some days. I'm playing such a bitch… It was hard for me to love the movie." That same year, Heigl heavily shaded Grey's Anatomy and its showrunner, Shonda Rhimes, when she withdrew from the race for Emmy nominations, and said, "I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention." Oof. After that, Heigl continued churning out stale, increasingly unsuccessful romantic comedies until her name became synonymous with the worst of the genre. Through it all, rumors about her on-set difficulty swirled, which may or may not have led to some high-profile shakeups within her management and PR teams. "I'm not a rude person, I’m not an unkind or mean person, I would never go out of my way or consciously try to hurt anyone’s feelings or make them feel bad or uncomfortable." She still got a few more chances to prove her muster on the silver screen and television circuit, but she's continued to bomb out on both mediums just as spectacularly. Perhaps she should've kept any negative opinions she had about her projects to herself. Jennifer Love Hewitt After making a name for herself in the teen slasher series I Know What You Did Last Summer and her small screen work in Party of Five, Jennifer Love Hewitt started enjoying regular starring roles in pics like Can't Hardly Wait and Heartbreakers. Unfortunately, her movie career started to slump with the Jackie Chan action-comedy flop The Tuxedo and the Garfield movies. She managed to rally on the small screen with successful runs in The Ghost Whisperer and The Client List. But after she was accused of being difficult on-set of the latter show — by reportedly insisting that her real-life baby daddy be cast in the series — the whole show was unceremoniously axed. She went on to nab a role in Criminal Minds, but when she became pregnant with her second child, Hewitt decided to leave the show after only one season. Since exiting Criminal Minds in 2015, Hewitt has yet to log another screen credit, or even have anything listed in production. Granted, she also gave birth to her second child, so she's clearly putting her career on some kind of hold to spend quality time with her kids. Regardless, it doesn't seem like we'll be seeing her on the red carpet anytime soon. Taylor Momsen By the time Taylor Momsen was 17, she'd already been in the entertainment business for 15 years. Her parents started her in the modeling industry at just two, an experience Momsen doesn't fondly recall. She later said, "My parents signed me up with Ford (modeling agency) at the age of two. No two year old wants to be working, but I had no choice." From there it was a breakout role as Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and then a big break on Gossip Girl that informed her showbiz career. But that would be where Momsen's acting career ended. Her growing displeasure with Hollywood and a gradual drift towards a music career essentially tucked Momsen's SAG card into a file folder. As her good-girl-next-door look morphed into a goth-inspired, raccoon-eyed rock frontwoman, Gossip Girl producers reduced her role on the show until she was eventually dropped as a series regular in Season 5. There was no love lost for Momsen, who basically dove eyeliner-first into a music career as the lead singer of The Pretty Reckless. Julia Stiles After her breakthrough role in 10 Things I Hate About You, Julia Stiles had a real shot at the big-time. However, her subsequent silver screen decisions did her no favors. After dismal returns for A Guy Thing and Mona Lisa Smile, Stiles pivoted to smaller films, including the critically panned remake of The Omen and a little-known film called Edmond. "I'm trying some stuff out. I'd rather do that than get stuck doing something I don't love." Fortunately for her, she's had a small, but regular role in the Jason Bourne franchise to carry her through. Kat Stratford might not have been so concerned with A-list status … "Where did you come from, planet loser?" "As opposed to planet look at me, look at me?” But Stiles herself does have a desire to stay relevant. She told The New York Times, "I think audiences, producers and directors included, develop crushes on actors (actresses in particular) and then lose interest and move on to the next one. There are a handful of actors who sustain interest because it's exciting to watch them get better at what they do. I want to be one of those actors." Unfortunately, Stiles doesn't seem to be getting too many opportunities to improve anymore. Hopefully for Stiles and her fans, that'll turn around sooner rather than later... Thanks for watching! Click the Nicki Swift icon to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Plus check out all this cool stuff we know you'll love, too!

Contents

Biography

Early life and work

The son of Mr. and Mrs. D.E. Taylor, in Freeport, Pennsylvania, on December 13, 1920.[2] he was born Donald Ritchie Taylor[3][4] (Another source says that he was born "in Pittsburgh and raised in Freeport, Pa.")[3] He studied speech and drama at Penn State University and hitchhiked to Hollywood in 1942. He was signed as a contract player at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and appeared in small roles. Drafted into the United States Army Air Forces (AAF) during World War II, he appeared in the Air Forces's Winged Victory Broadway play[5] and movie (1944), credited as "Cpl. Don Taylor."

Acting career

After discharge from the AAF, Taylor was cast in a lead role as the young detective, Jimmy Halloran, working alongside veteran homicide detective Dan Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) in Universal's 1948 screen version of The Naked City, which was notable for being filmed entirely on location in New York. Taylor was later part of the ensemble cast in MGM's classic World War II drama Battleground (1949). He then appeared as the husband of Elizabeth Taylor in the comedies Father of the Bride (1950) and its sequel Father's Little Dividend (1951), starring Spencer Tracy. Another memorable role was Vern "Cowboy" Blithe in Flying Leathernecks (1951). In 1952, Taylor played a soldier bringing his Japanese war-bride back to small-town America in Japanese War Bride. In 1953, Taylor had a key role as the escaping prisoner Lt. Dunbar in Billy Wilder's Stalag 17. His last major film role came in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955).

Directorial career

From the late 1950s through the 1980s, Taylor turned to directing movies and TV shows, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the short-lived Steve Canyon, starring Dean Fredericks, and Rod Serling's Night Gallery. One of his memorable efforts, in 1973, was the musical film Tom Sawyer,[6] which boasted a Sherman Brothers song score. Other films that Taylor directed are Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Echoes of a Summer (1976), The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday (also 1976), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) starring Burt Lancaster, Damien: Omen II (1978) with William Holden, and The Final Countdown (1980) with Kirk Douglas.

Taylor occasionally performed both acting and directing roles simultaneously, as he did for episodes of the TV detective series Burke's Law.

Writing career

Taylor "wrote one-act plays, radio dramas, short stories, and the 1985 TV movie My Wicked, Wicked Ways ... The Legend of Errol Flynn."[3]

Personal life

Don Taylor with Phyllis Avery, 1946
Don Taylor with Phyllis Avery, 1946

Taylor was married twice.

  • His first wife was Phyllis Avery, whom he married in 1944; they divorced in 1955,[3] but not before the births of their daughters Anne and Avery.
  • His second wife was Hazel Court,[6] whom he married in 1964 and stayed with until his death; they had a son, Jonathan, and a daughter, Courtney.[7]

Death

Taylor died on December 29, 1998, at the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, of heart failure.[3]

Awards

Selected filmography as director

In addition to his Hollywood credits, Taylor directed 27 television movies and episodes for 53 television series including Cannon, Rod Serling's Night Gallery, Mod Squad, It Takes a Thief, The Big Valley, The Flying Nun, Vacation Playhouse, The Tammy Grimes Show, The Wild Wild West, Burke's Law, The Rogues, The Farmer's Daughter, The Lloyd Bridges Show, The Dick Powell Theatre, Dr. Kildare, Checkmate, 87th Precinct, Zane Grey Theater, The Rifleman, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Honky Tonk, and others.

Selected filmography as actor

Year Title Role Notes
1943 The Human Comedy Soldier Uncredited
Salute to the Marines Brooks - Marine at Bridge Uncredited
Swing Shift Maisie Young Pilot Uncredited
Thousands Cheer Soldier at Train Station Uncredited
Girl Crazy Student Uncredited
1944 Winged Victory Danny 'Pinkie' Scariano
1947 Song of the Thin Man Buddy Hollis
1948 The Naked City Detective Jimmy Halloran
For the Love of Mary David Paxton
1949 Battleground Standiferd
1950 Ambush Lt. Linus Delaney
Father of the Bride Buckley Dunstan
1951 Submarine Command Lt. Peter Morris
Father's Little Dividend Buckley Dunstan
The Flying Leathernecks Lt. Vern 'Cowboy' Blithe
The Blue Veil Dr. Robert Palfrey
Submarine Command Lt. Cmdr. Peter Morris
1952 Japanese War Bride Cpt. Jim Sterling
1953 Destination Gobi Jenkins
The Girls of Pleasure Island Lt. Jimmy Gilmartin
Stalag 17 Lt. James Schuyler Dunbar
1954 Johnny Dark Duke Benson
The Men of Sherwood Forest Robin Hood
1955 I'll Cry Tomorrow Wallie
1956 The Bold and the Brave Sgt. Ewald 'Preacher' Wollaston
Ride the High Iron Sgt. Hugo Danielchik
1957 Love Slaves of the Amazons Dr. Peter Masters
1961 Savage Guns Mike Summers
1969 The Five Man Army Poker Player Uncredited, (final film role)

References

  1. ^ Roberts, Jerry (5 June 2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 584. ISBN 978-0-8108-6378-1.
  2. ^ "Don Taylor Expected To Visit in Freeport". Simpson's Leader-Times. Kittanning, Pennsylvania. July 10, 1957. p. 1. Retrieved March 24, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.open access
  3. ^ a b c d e "Actor Don Taylor, 78, Also Directed Movies, Tv". Sun Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Los Angeles Times. January 4, 1999. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  4. ^ Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. 1. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 720. ISBN 978-1-5578-3551-2. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Don Taylor". Playbill. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b Kleiner, Dick (September 27, 1972). ""Tom Sawyer" family film even on set". Columbus Telegram. p. 34. Retrieved March 24, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  7. ^ Weiskind, Ron (January 1, 1999). "Longtime Hollywood actor, director raised in Freeport". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. B-7. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Awards Search: Don Taylor". Television Academy. Retrieved 24 March 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 September 2019, at 13:32
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